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Reader comment on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s passage ...

Pilgrimage to Nonviolence


On Nov 17, 2011 Somik Raha wrote:

 AtoZ, Catherine and Thierry, thank you so much for your comments!

AtoZ, I agree with you on many counts, and will focus on the differences. Darwin's ideas have been interpreted in the mainstream as "survival of the fittest," but when we are talking about the social sphere, an alternate hypothesis is "survival of the kindest." From at least my limited personal experience and evidence I've recieved from others, it seems to me that those who are kind to others, don't manipulate others, and love unconditionally get back what they give. So do those who don't. Perhaps you can validate if you feel like harming those who are kind to you (my bet is you are inclined to reciprocate). A much broader principle than Darwin's seems to be, "What goes around, comes around." Even our planet is shaped that way :).

Catherine, I can tell you where that monk story came from, but I am not sure that you would find that satisfactory. I find it much more helpful to test how far I can go than get wowed by legends of others. In that sense, I am totally with you. I find it helpful to locate my edge, and then test if I can go beyond it. 

To me, nonviolence is a practice that does not have prescriptive solutions (like being vegetarian or staying away from physical violence). It is far more subtle. If I take an act of violence, and claim that my mind is nonviolent, how do I know that I'm not fooling myself? One useful test I've found is this: Is my action a reaction beyond my control, or did I select that option amongst several as the wisest thing to do, grounded on the principle of seeing unity with all?

Most of the time, my answer to this question has been the former, but the latter is an important aspiration. 



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